The St. Mary Minster


We offer you a warm welcome in the St. Mary Minster, one of the oldest and most beautiful examples of Romanesque monastic architecture in the entire Weser highlands.


The Monastery


The monastery was founded in 960 A.D by two sisters and dedicated to Mary, Mother of Christ. It was established under the principles of the Order of Saint Benedict. These are, “pray and work” (ora et labora). The official inauguration was performed on the 15th July 1046 by Bishop Bruno of Minden.


Over the years, the building has survived both the highs and the lows of historical events. It has changed hands between nuns and monks and has also served as a place of rest to pilgrims travelling between Loccum and Volkenroda. This pilgrim trail has been in use again Since 2005.


The monastery came under Protestant administration after the 1542 Reformation. St. Mary Minster finally ceased to exist as a monastery in the year of 1620.


The  Church


The church is a Romanesque pillar basilica with a high central aisle and lower side aisles. A transept runs from north to south, intersecting the raised sanctuary and apse. Several architectural modifications have been carried out over the centuries. However, the the general Romanesque character remains intact.


Unfortunately, the west tower was destroyed during the Thirty Years' War. 20m of the building's original 54m length was also lost at this time. It was during the 19th century that a ridge turret was added to the church in order to house the bells. The last renovation took place in 1964.


Despite the passage of time and the building's varying fortunes, the Minster still demonstrates the clear architectural lines of the Romanesque period.


Take a look at some of the more beautiful items that can be found in this church:

·        A wooden memorial slab  (Dated 1727).

·        A 13th century crucifix.  The cross and painting are thought to date back to the Baroque period.

·        A Madonna, built between 1400 and 1450. From top to toe the entire figure was kindly donated to the church by a local couple.

·        A stone baptismal font, early Romanesque (style) or even pre-Christian.

·        An oak altar of the Gothic period.

·        The beautiful painting at the chorus was created between 1869 and 1906. It shows Christ sitting enthroned on a rainbow. He is surrounded by the symbols of the Four Evangelists, the lion, man, the eagle and the ox. The four prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel are also portrayed, as is the divine Jerusalem.

·        A small house of sacraments (Gothic style), built from new red sandstone

·        A hanging crucifix, dated around 1500-1525. The cross was restored in 1995.

·        A beautiful memorial slab, to the left in front of the altar.

·        A commemorative plaque, embedded in the floor in memory of Baron Hieronymus von Münchhausen (The famous Baron Munchausen), who died in 1797.

·        A wooden figure of Christ, named “Christ in Misery”, dated to around 1490

·        Remnants of a colourful painted window that depicts scenes from the Holy Bible

·        A Madonna with the holy child, dated around 1480-1490, lime wood, surrounded by a halo.

·        A Pieta (The holy Mary cradling her dead son), dated around 1500, lime wood.

·        The sarcophagus of Siegfried von der Homburg who died in 1380.

·        Various memorial slabs.

·        An organ with seven organ stops, built in 1970 and renovated in 1988

·        Various approaches.

·        In addition to memorial slabs within the church there are also many other memorial slabs to be found outside the church.